Playground design involves much more than just looking for the most exciting pieces of equipment. You also have a responsibility to ensure that every family stays safe during their visit to the park. Being familiar with these top safety regulations helps you create a safe area for children to play that complies with federal, state and city laws.
Establish Clear Boundaries
Playgrounds should be set up in areas where children can run freely without the fear of being hit by a car or getting lost. You can create clear boundaries by setting up fenced areas, and this is especially helpful for daycare play areas where children may be too young to remember to say where they are safe.
Put Soft Surfacing in Fall Zones
Soft surfacing for playgrounds ranges from loose mulch to poured in place rubber. Check the local guidelines to ensure that the play areas you design comply. Keep in mind that playground structures for schools frequently need these areas to be refilled as they get packed down or small pieces get lost as children play.
Use Proper Spacing Between the Equipment
The National Safety Council recommends that most playground structures should have at least six feet of space under and around them. Swing sets should have even more space between them and other types of equipment. This gives kids room to walk around without having to worry about being hit by another child who is playing.
Provide Sun Protection
A little sunshine is good for children, but there comes a point when it can become dangerous. Plan to add shaded areas to the park where the children can get out of the sun. A covered area with a place to sit is perfect for helping a child to recover from too much sun exposure.
Designate Areas for Age Groups
Young toddlers and big kids running around in the same area is a dangerous combination. If you are designing a playground for mixed age groups, then set the different types of equipment up in different areas. You’ll also want to make sure that the equipment you set up is designed for the ages and abilities of the children. When possible, go with inclusive equipment! Providing accessible equipment for children of all abilities is critical for keeping everyone safe.
Post Safety Rules and Recommendations
Apartment playground equipment and other areas where children may play without official supervision should have clearly defined rules posted in visible areas. Signs that list the recommended age range for the equipment gives parents and children the information that they need to stay safer as they play.
Building a playground is a huge responsibility. Always start your planning by checking the local regulations to make sure that you comply. Then, have some fun with the playground design. Adding exciting pieces of equipment helps to keep kids engaged so that they stay safe.